I can’t wait to watch and talk about the “NXT Full Sail” shows because the episodes of NXT “Redemption” they’ve been airing while taping the new program have been boooooooring. Last week was bad enough but this week….oh boy. It’s not even worth recapping on a match by match basis. If you want the quick results here they are:
Jinder Mahal beat Derrick Bateman
Percy Watson beat Heath Slater
Maxine beat Alicia Fox
The Great Khali and Ezekiel Jackson beat Johnny Curtis and Drew Mcintyre
That's all there is to the show. No promos, vignettes, post-match angles, nothing. Instead of giving a play by play of these rather bland matches lets talk about how and why this particular episode of NXT won’t be referred to as entertaining television, shall we?
1. There are no angles whatsoever.
By eliminating vignettes, promos, mic time or even any pre or post match shenanigans they’ve taken away all storyline possibilities from NXT and absolutely crippled the audience’s (or at least my) ability to invest in the program or its characters. NXT was filled with fun and interesting wrestlers, almost all of which had individual storylines that carried through on a fairly consistent week by week basis. Despite being the WWE’s C show, it was actually an excellent example of the WWE involving a majority of a show’s talent, something that has been quite difficult for them to do at points in their history. The short vignettes peppered throughout the show added so much to the characterization of NXT’s wrestlers and were usually quite entertaining as well. Now that those vignettes are gone their former impact is deeply felt.
2. The wrestling is bad.
Even with the absence of any storytelling possibilities outside the ring, a wrestling show can still be successful if the stories told inside the ring are good or if the wrestling itself is at such a high level that it overcomes the poor or nonexistent storyline around it (Some would point to recent programs with CM Punk as being perfect examples of this). That doesn’t happen here. The only stories that come out of tonight’s show are “Great, its Jinder Mahal again” or “My God, Alicia Fox is a terrible, terrible wrestler” and even “That’s right, Heath, another chinlock!” Because of this, none of this week’s matches are worth checking out, despite the efforts of NXT mainstays Derrick Bateman, Johnny Curtis, Percy Watson and Maxine. I feel sorry for them really; yes they still need to improve in certain aspects of their game but tonight their opponents did nothing for them. I mean, what the hell is Johnny Curtis supposed to do with the Great Khali? The only man I can recall dragging a good match out of Khali was Shawn Michaels and as good as Curtis is there’s only one HBK.
Believe it or not Khali wasn’t even the worst wrestler on this week’s show! How depressing is that!? That honor goes to Alicia Fox, who turned in possibly the worst performance I’ve seen in months. Awkward timing, botched moves, Eve-style one-legged dropkicks; it was awful. Maxine actually had to dumb down her style to allow Fox to keep up and even then she couldn’t do it. The only bright light in that match was Maxine making Alicia tap out with a dragon sleeper counter to get the win over a poor wrestler from the main roster. Bateman couldn’t even get that much; he had to take Mahal’s boring-ass offense and then lose to his archaic Camel Clutch. Even my girlfriend didn't think it was finisher-worthy and she’s not exactly a wrestling elitist.
So if there are no storylines at all and an absence of good wrestling to fill that void, what’s the point in watching the show? Well, there isn’t one really. I hate to just casually dismiss an hour’s worth of wrestling programming but yeah, don’t bother. NXT or whatever it’s going to be called in the future will be better than this and I suggest you watch it then. I’ve heard very good things about the tapings that have been going on and the revamped developmental system that those tapings are only a small part of and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor. But that’s the future. This week’s show doesn’t even get a grade.
In semi-related news next Friday I will be making the big move out East and thanks to the hullabaloo involved with packing one’s life away and moving it cross country the next couple weeks of NXT will be covered by Mr. J. Canton. I really hope he gets some good episodes to review this time. On the way to Philly I’m also hoping to meet up with my favorite Smackdown Reviewer, Mr. A. Johnson. Perhaps we will discuss the fallacies of the National Broadcasting Company over donuts in his Bat-Cave. It is yet to be determined. Anyway, seeya in June!